Beer Magazine

Beer Kitchen

August 6, 2008

Beer Glass Class

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Written by: BeerMagDerek

Graduate from Red Plastic Cups
words: Derek Buono

Back in college, you may have been happy to actually have your beer served in a glass, instead of drinking it in a clear plastic cup. Beer, like wine, can be a very sophisticated drink, and with that level of sophistication comes an assortment of glasses. The type of glass used has the power to enhance the beer’s flavor, and more importantly, the overall experience. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your favorite brew out of the good old pint glass, but sometimes it’s nice to try something new. We’ve gathered information on an assortment of glasses that are designed for beer.

Shaker (Pint Glass)
The workhorse of the beer-drinking world—at least in the US—is the pint glass. With a healthy 16 oz. capacity and a wide rim to let the head spread out and aromas release, this glass will provide a better taste experience than a bottle or can. Very durable and good for stacking, so you can build your collection of favorite “borrowed-from-your-local-bar” glassware at home. While beer snobs may throw a fit about this glass, it’s the blue-collar glass of the group because of its durability and function.
Capacity: 500ml
Recommended Styles: Amber Ale, American Dark Lager, American Pale Ale, American Wheat, English Pale Ale, Golden Ale/Blond Ale, India Pale Ale (IPA), Low Alcohol, Malt Liquor, Mild Ale, Pale Lager

Guinness Pint Glass
Probably the single most recognized glass among the beer world is the Guinness pint glass, which holds 20 oz. of the finest of Mother Nature’s milk on earth. Even those that have never partaken in its greatness can recognize the silhouette alone of a dark blooming tower, topped with a creamy head. The glass provides the perfect housing for the liquid black-gold that flows from the nitrogen tap and simmers its way up the edges. It provides a truly unique viewing experience as the beer settles from top to bottom, changing its colors like the chameleon. The glass provides a decent opening at the top, enough to get your nose or mustache in the creamy foam to inhale the chocolaty stouts that fill this traditional glass. Traditionally skillful bartenders will outline a 4 leaf clover in the head of your Guinness using the tap nozzle, so keep an eye out for that prize atop your beer.
Capacity: 600ml
Recommended Styles: Irish Stouts, English Cask Ales, English Pub Ales

This thin glass is best paired with light beers or lambics that have higher carbonation. The intent is to show off the color and sparkle. The flute isn’t seen in too many watering holes, but it will enhance any gathering of the self-proclaimed aristocrats dinner party. Unlike glasses with a large mouth, the flute’s smaller opening reduces the beer’s ability to breathe which in turn, funnels the concentration for a more intense initial aroma.
Capacity: 600ml
Recommended Styles: Bohemian Pilsener, Cider, Classic German Pilsener, Fruit Beer, Pilsener

Lager Glass
(Similar to Weizen)
Lots of beer glasses are named after the style of brew for which they are intended. The lager glass is designed to highlight the characteristics of lagers. Its thinner body and traditional straight sides help highlight the beer’s color, preserve
the head, and concentrate the nose of the beer. The taller glass helps to show off your prized nectar and instills envy in your cohorts donning the stubby pint glass.
Capacity: 12 – 16 oz.
Recommended Styles: American Dark Lager, American Pale Ale, California Common, Cider, Cream Ale, Dortmunder/Helles, Dunkel, European Strong Lager, Malt Liquor, Oktoberfest/Märzen, Pale Lager, Premium Lager, Schwarzbier, Smoked, Spice/Herb/Vegetable, Vienna, Zwickel/Keller/Landbier

English Pint Glass (Also Known As Nonic)
The more “proper” pint glass is the English version, which separates it from the US version with a flared upper region. It holds 20 oz. of fluid and usually has a line to indicate where a proper pint is poured (trust nobody). The increased capacity is great, but the wider upper section allows for better head and breathing.
Capacity: 600ml
Recommended Styles: Amber Ale, Baltic Porter, Bitter, Dry Stout, English Pale Ale, English, Strong Ale, Golden Ale/Blond Ale, Irish Ale, Low Alcohol, Mild Ale, Pale Lager, Porter, Premium Bitter/ESB, Scottish Ale, Stout, Sweet, Stout, Traditional Ale

The Mug
The more rugged and durable of the beer glass gang! It’s thick and sometimes dimpled, but tough as nails. It’s good for medieval cheers, but it will conceal the look of the beer. The large opening will allow you to get your nose right down in the beer and makes for quick dispensing. Good for boat races and those hanging around for more than just one beer.
Capacity: 12 – 20 oz.
Recommended Styles: American Dark Lager, Brown Ale, Doppelbock, Dunkel, Dunkler Bock, Eisbock, Old, Ale, Pale Lager, Smoked, Traditional Ale, Weizen Bock

Yards and 1/2 Yards
These are definitely more for show than function. Either way you’ll be the center of attention can be very trendy at certain bars. The more common form is the half-yard, which is smaller, easier to transport, and less expensive. These hand-blown works of art have a bulbed bottom and a thin belly that opens up at the top for allowing the bouquet to release. Drinking from the bottom can get tricky, and many folks will get a beer facial at first try.
Capacity: 1 1/2 – 3 Pints
Recommended Styles: Traditional Ale, Lager

The name of this glass explains its intended filler. The glass is shaped to show off the color, effervescence, and clarity of the beer, while retaining a nice head throughout the enjoyment. They are identified by their even tapers, and are sometimes confused with a wheat beer glass.
Capacity: 250-330ml
Recommended Styles: Bohemian Pilsener, Classic German Pilsener, Cream Ale, Japanese Rice Lager

(Wheat Beer Glass)
If you’re into wheat beers, you should be using this glass. It’s tall, thin-walled, and curvaceous, and could be the supermodel of beer glasses. Designed to hold 500ml and have a thick, healthy head on top, they work for just about any beer, but go great with
what they were intended for.
Capacity: 500ml
Recommended Styles: American Dark Wheat Ale, American Pale Wheat Ale, Dunkel Weizen, Hefe Weizen

Goblet (Chalice)
The fish bowl of beer glasses offers a place for your heavier beers and sipping beers. The goblet tends to be thinner and more delicate, and the chalice comes in a thicker, heavier form. Word to the wise: If your bartender serves you a beer in one of these, it’s time to readjust your traditional limits otherwise you’re destined to Time Travel*.
*Time travel—It’s 9pm and you’re on your first beer. Next thing you know you’re looking at the alarm clock and it’s 9am and you’re late for work…
Capacity: various
Recommended Styles: Belgian Ales, German Bocks, Sipping Beers

Tumbler (Hogaarden Glass)
The German equivalent to the pint glass here in the US, the tumbler is a beefy, sometimes square-edge glass. The top should be wider than the base to allow for easier drinking and better aromatics.
Capacity: various
Recommended Styles: Belgian Ale,
Belgian Strong Ale, Belgian White

The stein comes in both the porcelain and glass versions, the former being considered more of a work of art or conversation piece. It typically comes in liter (ein Mas—German version used mostly at Oktoberfest) and half liter (for the girly-man) versions. Some of the older (art-deco) steins come with metal covers that were initially intended to keep flies away. It was also said that these covers helped keep thieves at bay should they try to poison your beer and steal your shillings. Unless you drink in a forest fire or have found the last place on earth where disease-infested flies kill themselves in beer, you’ll enjoy your beer.
Capacity: various
Recommended Styles: All

Stem Glass
This straight glass is better suited for heavier Porters. With straight sides and a rounded bottom, it’s attached to a base with a small stem—which is probably where the name comes from.
Capacity: 350ml
Recommended Styles: Baltic Porter, Doppelbock, Porter

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